There may come a point in your career when you realize that you’re a victim of discrimination. Should that happen, you have three options: Fight back to protect your legal rights, deal with it or leave the company for good.

It goes without saying that no one should be discriminated against at work (or anywhere else). And for that reason, it’s best to fight back to protect your legal rights. You should never feel like the best answer is to deal with the discrimination or move on to another employer. You have legal rights and you need to protect them.

Here’s what you should do if you suspect that you’re a victim of workplace discrimination:

  • Collect evidence: Anything you have that backs up your claim can come in handy in the future. For example, if a supervisor sent you an email that proves they’re discriminating against you, print it out and keep it in a safe place.
  • Talk to the HR department: Tell them what’s happening, file a formal complaint and follow up with them in a timely manner. It’s your hope that they work with you to find out what’s going on and reach a resolution. Unfortunately, the word “discrimination” may scare them, so they do their best to sweep your complaint under the rug.
  • Stand up for yourself: When someone actively discriminates against you, don’t sit back and let it happen. Tell them that you know what’s happening and then do your part to protect yourself moving forward.

Maybe you find that doing this is more than enough to get the results you’re seeking. Or maybe you realize that you need to take things to the next level by filing a formal complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Workplace discrimination is every bit as serious as it sounds. You think it will never happen to you, but there could come a point when you’re in the middle of a challenging situation.

You have legal rights as an employee. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that discrimination at work is a way of life. Fight back at every turn of the road.